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Amerco Sues Audit Firm On Real Estate Advice

Apr 21, 2003 | Arizona RepublicPhoenix-based U-Haul International's parent, Amerco, is suing its former auditor, Pr

Phoenix-based U-Haul International's parent, Amerco, is suing its former auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, for $2.5 billion in damages.

The self-storage and moving rental giant accuses the nation's largest accounting firm of giving it faulty advice about its real estate business, SAC Holding.

Amerco alleges the accounting firm's counsel cost it profits, a balance sheet restructuring and an additional $850 million in financing, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for Arizona late Friday.

"This action appears to be an attempt by company management to shift the blame away from themselves," PricewaterhouseCoopers spokesman David Nestor said. "We're confident it will fail."

Amerco fired the accounting firm last summer after PricewaterhouseCoopers raised red flags about its treatment of SAC. The moving company subsequently filed a major earnings restatement and in the fall it defaulted on more than $1 billion in loans when it missed a $100 million principal payment.

"We attempted to resolve this matter without the need for a lawsuit, but our efforts were rebuffed at several levels," Amerco General Counsel Gary Klinefelter said.

Amerco, which also has suspended its dividend, is negotiating to restructure its debt with major creditors.

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